NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – All of our first responders are risking their lives to battle the coronavirus.

In Queens, one young EMT is among the most vulnerable to infection, yet he’s still selflessly stepping up.

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At the Queens tactical response center, a sanitizing procedure that has become standard is done by an EMT who is anything but.

“We touch this stuff the most so you always want to make sure its nice and clean,” said FDNY EMT Jack Cloonan. “We all signed up to take care of people. This is our job. We are the FDNY, the best department in the world.”


He’s on the front lines of the COVID-19 fight.

“It’s a very widespread virus and it’s hard because its invisible,” he said.

Cloonan has already fought his share of hard battles.

“As a young baby, I had three liver transplants by the time I was 2 years old,” he said.

Growing up in Coram, Long Island, the hits kept on coming.

“And then, two months after I graduated high school, I got diagnosed with leukemia. I got chemotherapy for 25 months,” he said.

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The chemo destroyed some of his joints and even his teeth.

“So I have hearing aids, a hip replacement and these are dentures,” he said.

None of that stopping him from stepping up and becoming one of the city’s bravest.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

“I always felt a responsibility to give back and help others because I’ve been helped so many times,” he said.

Ever the humble hero, Cloonan is quick to shine the spotlight on other high risk New Yorkers fighting on the front lines, reported CBS2’s Tara Jakeway.

“I am just one example of what organ donation looks like. I know some other nurses, doctors. So you never know,” he said.

He wants to remind the people of this great city that just one organ donor can save the lives of fifty.

“As long as I’m healthy and able to do the job, I will always show up to work and give all New Yorkers the best chance to live,” he said.

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Cloonan says he has no plans of taking any days off, no matter how hard this fight gets. He wants to be right there on the front lines with his brothers and sisters of the FDNY.